Under cover of darkness, Israeli tanks tightened their grip on urban areas in the Gaza Strip, on the 18th day of the conflict between Israel and fighters linked to Hamas.
They were given air support from fighter jets and helicopters, and artillery on the ground. It is claimed militants fired around 30 rockets or mortars from Gaza into southern Israel yesterday. In a televised address broadcast from a secret location, senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh defiantly claimed the group was close to victory. Palestinian sources say the death toll has now passed 900 – while Israel says 13 of its citizens have been killed. Despite global disapproval and amid claims of a third phase of attack on Gaza and other cities, Israel has vowed to press on with its campaign to end the militants’ rocket attacks. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said: “We ask the international community to give us more time to continue this work. Israel is in the front line, Israel needs to defend its citizens, this is what we are doing.”